He reached forward, his hand shaking, and picked up his glass of water. His stomach was churning terribly and even the thought of eating made him want to throw up. He knew, however that it would be rude to refuse the hospitality of the Shibutani family.
As he gulped down a glob of rice, he wondered if he had always been gay. He could remember times that he really admired girls in his class. The way they dressed, or laughed or how kind and gentle they were. But no matter how hard he thought about it, he couldn't remember a time when any girl had made his heart beat the way Subaru did.
At that moment, a laugh floated across the table from Subaru as he stole the last piece of karaage that his little brother had been eyeing.
Yasu's heart started beating in his chest as Subaru's eyes locked with his, his smile widening and the corner of his eyes crinkling. "Definitely gay," Yasu mumbled under his breath, trying to calm his rapid heartbeat.
"What did you say, dear?" Subaru's mother spoke up from Yasu's left.
"Nothing," Yasu squeaked out nervously, unaware that he had been speaking loud enough for anyone to hear.
From the corner of his eye, he could see Subaru's mother smirking that same knowing smile and he suddenly felt claustrophobic.
The only relief that Yasuda felt that night was as dinner was winding down and Subaru's mother started clearing dishes from the table, bringing him one moment closer to when he could leave. His relief was soon replaced, however, as Subaru's mother placed a hand on Yasu's shoulder. "Why don't you go help Subaru with the dishes?"
Yasu wanted to refuse and leave, but his mother had brought him up better than that, and so he found himself in the kitchen. Alone. With Subaru.
"Thanks for helping me today," Subaru said, breaking the uncomfortable silence that had filled the room.
Yasu nodded in reply, taking the rinsed dish that Subaru held out to him and drying it before setting it in a rack.
"Are you feeling okay?" Subaru asked Yasu, holding out another plate.
"I'm fine," Yasu replied, smiling nervously as he reached to take the plate from Subaru. His fingers brushed against Subaru's and he jumped in shock, dropping the plate on the floor. He shook off his hand, staring in shock at the plate which now lay broken on wooden floor.
"What happened?" Subaru's mother stood in the doorway, looking at Yasu with concern.
"I'm so sorry," Yasu stuttered, bending down to pick up the shards of the ceramic plate.
"No," She hurried into the room shooing Yasu away. "It's okay. I'll clean it up."
"I'm sorry," Yasu muttered again, standing back and watching awkwardly as Subaru handed his mother a towel.
"Don't worry about it," She shook her head again, walking over to the garbage and dropping the piece of glass into the container.
"I should go," Yasu mumbled, excusing himself from the kitchen. He hurried up the stairs and started putting his books into his school bag.
"Are you sure you're alright?" Subaru asked, sitting on his bed and watching as Yasu nervously continued packing up his belongings.
"Yeah," Yasu spoke, finding his nervousness increasing at being alone with Subaru once more. "I just remembered that there's something I need to do at home."
"Oh," Subaru replied, his voice dripping with disappointment.
"Bye," Yasu, still refusing to look at Subaru, shouldered his bag and turned to leave the room.
"Yasu," Subaru's voice came out soft. "I didn't do something wrong did I?"
Yasu froze in the doorway. The only time he had ever heard Subaru sound that sad was when he was talking about Rikiya. And it almost broke Yasu's heart to think that he was the cause of that sadness in Subaru's voice. He turned around, trying his hardest to give Subaru an honest smile. "Of course not."
"Then I'll see you at school tomorrow?" Subaru asked, his voice sounding hopeful again.
Yasu smiled again and nodded. He climbed down the stairs again, quickly slipping his shoes on before leaving. Outside he sucked in deep puffs of air, trying to calm himself. As the cool spring air hit his face, he realized for the first time how stiflingly hot the Shibutani household had been.
Yasuda Shota took his time walking the short distance back to his house. Never in his entire life had he felt so uncomfortable in his own skin. He thought that he knew who he was, what he wanted from life. Suddenly, the realization that he had developed feelings for Shibutani Subaru changed everything.
He had to question everything about himself. His friendship with Ohkura and Maruyama and Ishigaki. His place in Revolver. What his classmates would think of him.
Then there was also Subaru to think about.
As he opened his front door, calling out a weak, "Tadaima," Yasu thought his head would explode from worrying about half a dozen different things.
"Shota," his mother poked her head around the corner. "How did studying go?"
"Fine," Yasu answered distractedly, pulling off his uniform jacket and setting it on a chair in the hallway.
"You look tired," his mother worried, ruffling her youngest child's hair. "Why don't you go take a bath and go to bed?"
Yasu nodded, setting down his bag. He started stripping off his clothes on the way to the bathroom, his mind still preoccupied with all of the events of the evening.
Even after he had sunk down into the warm water, he couldn't relax. Every muscle in his body was pulled tight and he could feel a dull ache reach all the way to the roots of his hair.
When he finally pulled himself out of the hot water, he was no less confused than he had been when he had left Subaru's home. Drying off with a clean towel, he left the bathroom, glad for once that his house was quiet enough to think.
His parents must have gone to bed already, and the only light on upstairs was coming from beneath his sister's door. He paused outside, his head still a jumble of thoughts as he knocked lightly on her door.
"Come in," he heard her voice call from inside.
Yasu opened the door, poking his head in. "Just wanted to say goodnight..."
"Goodnight," She smiled, watching him as he opened his mouth to say something else. Instead, he paused in the doorway for a few more minutes. "Is that all?"
Yasu hesitated once more before opening the door and allowing himself entrance. "Can I ask you something?"
She eyed him warily, perhaps because he was only wearing a towel. "What's up?" She asked.
Shota took a seat at her desk, watching as she painted her fingernails carefully on her bed. A silence filled the room, and he found himself wondering why he had gone there in the first place. He knew what he needed most right now was some good advice, but he sincerely worried that perhaps he had gone to the wrong person.
He could sense her annoyance growing, however, and he really could not think of a better person to ask. So he took a deep breath. "You love Tatsuya, right?" Yasu asked, referring to his sister's boyfriend.
"Eh?" She screwed the cap onto her nail polish bottle and set it down before sitting up. "What are you asking?"
"Nevermind," Yasu stood up, suddenly feeling incredibly stupid for ever having gone to his sister for help.
"No," She grabbed his arm, pulling him down onto her bed. "Wait. What's up, little bro?"
"Nothing," Yasu shook his head, trying to hide his blush as he stood up.
"Wait! Is my baby brother in love?" She laughed, poking at his sides.
"Stop that!" He pouted, shoving her away.
"Sorry. I'll be serious. Now really, what's on your mind?"
He waited a few minutes, just to make sure that she was finished with her teasing before he began. "How did you know when you were in love?" He asked, refusing to make eye contact as his blush deepened.
"Well," His sister began, obviously also feeling uncomfortable as she searched for an explanation. "It's just something you know in the pit of your stomach, I guess."
Yasu nodded, no nearer to an answer about his feelings for Subaru than he had been before he talked to his sister. In the pit of his stomach, there was no confirmation that told him, "Yes, Shota. You do, in fact, love Subaru." The only thing he could feel there was the urge to throw up.
"I mean," She continued. "Everything with that person feels different. They make you happier than anyone else. You can only think about them. You do everything you can in order to spend just a little bit more time with him." By now, a dreamy look had taken over her face, and it was clear that she was thinking of her own boyfriend.
Yasu, on the other hand, was swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat. Because sure enough, what she had described sounded a lot more like what he was feeling for Subaru. He really was happiest when he was with Subaru. And tonight was enough proof that Shibutani Subaru had taken up a place of permanent residence inside of his brain. Was it love though?
"Couldn't that just be friendship, though?" Yasu asked, turning to his sister. "I mean, isn't it natural to want to spend all of your free time with your best friend?"
She sat, thinking for a moment. "Well, sometimes I think that the person you love is your best friend. The person who knows you the best. Who sticks by your side no matter what. Who you can't imagine living without."
Yasu nodded, thinking hard about Subaru again. He had already admitted to himself that sometime in the short time that he had known Subaru, the other boy had become his best friend. He would definitely stick by Subaru's side no matter what, and he absolutely couldn't imagine living a life without Subaru in it. Not anymore.
But still, that didn't seem like love to him. "What if you'd only ever thought of that person as a friend?"
"Well, something must have happened that suddenly made you think otherwise, right?" She reasoned.
And there it was. Suddenly something she was saying made sense. If there was only friendship, then surely Yasu would know that. If that's all there was to it, he wouldn't be beating himself up right now trying to come up with some kind of answer. If they were friends, and only that, he would be able to tell himself that and put an end to the mental turmoil he was going through. But he couldn't tell himself that and that's when he knew, definitely, that there was more to his relationship with Subaru than just friendship.
She continued, "Can you picture yourself as more than friends?"
"I think so," Yasu muttered, thinking of the way he felt every time Subaru's hands had accidentally brushed against his own. Or the way that Subaru's chin had felt against his shoulder, the warm puffs of his breath sending tingles down his spine. Or how sometimes when Subaru looked at him with his large, deep brown eyes, he felt the urge to lean forward and see... but until now he had always stopped his trail of thought there. He had never allowed himself to thoroughly think such things through, let alone act on them.
Did he find Subaru physically attractive? he wondered. There had always been an attraction to Subaru from the moment he had laid eyes on the boy. His dirty sneakers and worn out second hand t-shirts under the school uniform jacket. The way his long hair always looked unkempt. And then there were his eyes, which seemed to convey his soul. His smile and his laugh had become essential mainstays in his life, two things that Yasuda could never tire of.
And now that he had finally told his brain it was okay, he couldn't stop picturing leaning in and finally seeing how warm Subaru's lips were. Or what they tasted like. Or what sort of noises he would make as he let himself be kissed. And he wondered if Subaru would thread his fingers in his hair or wrap them around his waist.
When he was finally able to pull himself away from that line of thought, he realized that his sister had been watching him with a goofy smile on her face. "What?" He pouted again, looking away.
"My baby brother is in love!" She shouted, poking his sides again.
"Shut up," He shoved her away once again, getting angry. "You're so loud!"
"Sorry, sorry," She sang. "But I'm happy for you! When do we get to meet-"
Yasu's eyes buldged. "That's not gonna happen!"
"Why not?" She pouted.
"Because," Yasu offered as his only answer. Getting to this point had been nearly impossible for him. He had finally admitted his feeling for Subaru, but looking at everything else, that was a miniscule accomplishment.
"Come on," She prodded.
Shota shook his head again. "I'm not even going to tell the person how I feel."
"What? Why not?" Concern crossed her face.
"It's too complicated. It won't work out anyway." Yasu replied, sounding defeated already.
"You won't know unless you try. Isn't it better knowing anyway?"
"You don't understand. It's more complicated than anything you could ever worry about, so just forget it okay?"
"Because it's Subaru?" She asked, smirking.
"EH?" Yasu sputtered, trying to comprehend what had just happened. "You... what? How did you know?"
"Well," She laughed. "I didn't until you just confirmed it. But I had a feeling. I mean, you two have gotten really close lately. And with the way you were talking, I figured it couldn't really be anyone else."
"And you're not disgusted or anything?" Yasu asked, looking at his sister with an expression of pure vulnerability.
"Of course not. You're still my little brother no matter who you like. And if you're worried about what mom and dad will think, I don't think you should worry."
"Really?" Yasu asked, and suddenly some of the weight he had been feeling (though only a small amount) was lifted from his shoulders.
She nodded, patting his head. "Now do you think Subaru might feel the same way?"
Yasuda shrugged. Part of him felt embarrassed for talking about relationships with his sister. There was another part of him that was relieved to finally have someone to share his thoughts and feelings with. "He had a boyfriend in the past, so at least I know he's gay..."
"That's great," She smiled at him. "You should tell him how you feel, then!"
Yasu shook his head. "I can't. What if he doesn't feel the same way?"
"Why wouldn't he? You're my adorably smart and cool and funny brother."
He rolled his eyes at her comment. "But if he doesn't feel the same way, I'll end up ruining the friendship."
"Shota," His sister's face turned serious again. "You have to think about what would be worse, okay? Would you rather be just friends and have to keep your feelings all bottled up when he eventually starts dating someone else? Or would you rather take a chance and tell him your feelings?"
Yasu bit his lip. It was hard enough for him to see the look on Subaru's face whenever he thought about Rikiya. Even harder to picture him in Rikiya's arms. He would never, ever be able to deal with actually seeing Subaru being held by some other guy. Or hear him laugh at some one else’s jokes. Or any of the other millions of things that would easily break his heart into millions of irreparable pieces.
Yes, the thought of losing Subaru was devastating. He didn’t want to live a life without his best friend in it. But even more than that, he couldn’t live with himself if he did nothing. He sighed. “I’m going to confess to him.”
“Good,” His sister smiled at him. “Don’t give him a chance to say no.”
Yasu nodded, standing up. “Thanks, sis.”
“Anytime,” She smiled as he exited her bedroom.
When Yasuda Shota woke up the next morning, he was feeling simultaneously excited and nervous. His mind had already been made up and he’d decided that he would tell Subaru his feelings that day.
Nervousness was overtaking his excitement as his hands were shaking so fiercely that he had trouble tying his shoelaces.
“Don’t worry,” His sister murmured from next to him as she slipped on her own shoes. “Just relax and make your feelings clear, okay?”
Yasu nodded, watching as she headed out the door on her way to university classes. He was not far behind her as he said his goodbyes to his mother.
Outside, Yasu’s nervousness increased as he expected Subaru to be waiting for him by the corner as he usually did. He paused for a few minutes, waiting for Subaru to join him. He didn’t leave until he glanced down at his watch and realized that he would be late to class if he didn’t leave immediately.
Making it to class on time took priority in his thoughts as he raced towards his school and he barely made it to his chair in time before the bell rang and Murakami entered the classroom.
When class settled in and lessons started, Yasu remembered how Subaru hadn’t been waiting in the usual place for him that morning. He suddenly worried as he glanced over at his friend. He hadn’t been any later than usual, so he had to wonder why Subaru hadn’t waited for him.
By lunch, he was a nervous wreck, wondering if perhaps he had done something the previous night to make Subaru angry at him. Besides breaking his mother’s china and then running away like a spazz. Then his paranoid side took over and he wondered if Subaru had somehow learned of his plans to confess and was thus avoiding him.
He wanted desperately to talk to Subaru, but as soon as Murakami dismissed the class for lunch, the dark haired boy disappeared.
Yasu sighed, grabbing his two bento and following Maruyama and Ohkura towards the lunchroom.
“Are you okay?” Maruyama asked, looking at Yasuda with concern.
The shorter boy nodded, still worrying over Subaru as he set his bento on the table and pulled out a chair. His plans to confess to the boy had been forgotten in light of his confusion over the current situation. The need to talk to Subaru became overwhelming as Yasuda fidgeted uncomfortably in his chair.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You’re being really fidgety.” Maruyama commented, lifting the lid off of his bento.
“Yeah,” Yasu stood. “I have to go pee though. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Yasu hurried towards the classroom, aware that he probably didn’t have much time before Ohkura decided to come looking for him. He peered inside, annoyed that Subaru was not there.
He sighed, and turned around, ready to give up and walk away. He froze as his eyes met Subaru, who seemed to be equally as stunned as he was. “Hi,” Yasu said, suddenly feeling shy.
“What are you doing here?” Subaru asked.
“I was looking for you,” Yasu replied honestly.
“Me? What for?” Subaru asked, side-stepping Yasu.
“Are you avoiding me?” Yasu asked, watching Subaru’s back as he retreated.
Subaru stopped, turning around to face Yasu. “No. I just thought it seemed like you needed some space after yesterday...”
Yasu was about to respond when he heard footsteps behind him. “Yasuda-kun!”
He looked apologetically at Subaru before turning around to greet whoever had called him. Ishihara was jogging down the hall towards him, and when she stopped before him, she was out of breath.
“Were you talking to someone?” She asked, looking over Yasu’s shoulder.
When Yasuda turned around to look, Subaru had already disappeared back into the classroom. “Um, no...”
“Oh, good.” She smiled. “I actually wanted to talk to you.”
“What is it?” He asked, trying to sound nice, though he was a bit annoyed at having been interrupted.
“Well,” a blush covered her face. “I just wanted to tell you that I like you.”
Yasu took a step backwards, feeling uncomfortable at her closeness. “Ishihara, that’s really nice but-”
“Yasu!” Ohkura’s voice called, and Yasu felt relief as the drummer caught up to them. “What’s taking you so long? Lunch is almost over.”
Yasu’s eyes drifted nervously over to where Maru was watching him in shock. Yasuda hurriedly took a step away from the girl, “I just met Ishihara-san on the way back from the bathroom.”
The explanation fell on empty ears as Maru turned around, silently walking back to the cafeteria. Yasuda was torn between going after his friend and his desire to go back and talk to Subaru.
“Let’s go,” Ohkura nodded back towards the cafeteria and Yasu nodded, following him.
“I’ll talk to you later then!” Ishihara called after him, waving and smiling.
For the rest of the day, Yasuda felt as though he was being ignored by both Subaru and Maruyama. And although he felt he did nothing wrong, their efforts to completely ignore and shun him were grating on his nerves. By the end of the day, Yasuda thought rather unbelievably, that Ohkura was his only friend and ally.
Yasuda had already decided that he was going to confess to Subaru, and he wasn’t the type to back down. He was going to do it, whether Subaru liked it or not.
So when classes ended for the day, Yasuda had to regretfully tell Ohkura that he would be unable to make it to band practice. This turned out in Yasu’s favor as it seemed Maruyama had also disappeared as soon as the bell had sounded.
Although he knew that he should probably go find Maru and explain to him what happened, seeing Subaru had taken first priority on his list of to-dos. Subaru must have left extremely quickly, because as Yasu began his walk home, he saw no sign on the long-haired boy.
As he approached the shop, he suddenly felt nervous. This would be his first time confessing to someone. In the past, he always wondered what the big deal with confessing was. He couldn’t understand the idea that someone could be so nervous about honestly admitting their feelings.
But not that he had found himself in the situation, he had a whole different opinion on it. There was always the very likely chance that Subaru would reject him. Then he would lose not only his first love, but his best friend. Yasu thought that was perhaps the scariest part. Because when normal people confessed and were rejected, they could always turn to their friends for comfort.
Who could Yasu turn to if he was rejected? His best friend would be the rejecter and his only other friends would never understand or approve of what he was about to do. If Subaru rejected him, he would have absolutely nothing.
Those thoughts made Yasu halt in panic, his hand on the handle of the music shop’s entrance. “What are you doing?” he heard a voice from behind him.
“Eh?” He turned around and Ryo was approaching, a smirk on his face. “Nothing.”
“Are you coming in?” Ryo asked, gripping the handle that Yasu had backed away from.
“Yes. No. I don’t know.” Yasu was wringing his hands nervously as all of the doubts he had about confessing taking control of his brain.
“What is wrong with you?” Ryo eyed Yasuda suspiciously.
“Nothing,” Yasu insisted, though half-heartedly.
Ryo leaned against the side of the building, still watching Yasu’s twitchy demeanor with interest. “Did something happen between you and Subaru?”
Yasu’s eyes widened as he looked up at Ryo. “No,” his voice sounded panicked. “Why do you ask?”
Ryo pushed himself off the wall, “I think something did happen. You’re acting weird.”
“I always act weird,” Yasu moved towards the door again, trying to avoid Ryo’s questioning eyes.
“Yasu,” Ryo sang out, pulling Yasu back towards him by the hem of his uniform jacket. “Tell me.”
Yasu’s body stiffened again, wondering if he should tell Ryo. On the one hand, if Subaru accepted his confession, Ryo would find out about them soon, anyway. But then there was the chance that Subaru would deny him and then how could he possibly face Ryo?
Not only that, but Nishikido Ryo was a scary guy. Who knew how he would take having that type of information suddenly sprung on him.
But before Yasu could think it through more thoroughly, the words were already spilling from his lips. “I like Subaru.”
Ryo stood there for a minute, watching as Yasu nervously twitched under his glare. Then a wide, toothy grin stretched across his face. “I KNEW IT.”
Yasu, surprised by the boy’s reaction, opened and shut his mouth a few times.
“The way you look at each other. I knew it was only a matter of time before one of you would admit that there was something more than friends.”
Yasu suddenly felt embarrassed, wondering if all this time he had been doing a very poor job of hiding his feelings for Subaru. Subaru’s mom knew, his sister knew, and Ryo knew too. Could everyone tell? Did Ohkura know? The embarrassment he had been feeling quickly gave way to panic as he wondered how many people knew.
“Relax,” Ryo patted Yasu’s shoulder.
He tried relaxing, but it was hard to do so in Nishikido Ryo’s presence. The pair stood in silence for several minutes, Yasu fretting over the situation and Ryo watching in amusement.
After a number of minutes had passed, Ryo finally spoke up. “So what are you going to do?”
Yasu took a deep breath. “I’m going to tell him how I feel.”
The smile disappeared from Ryo’s face. “Are you sure you want to do that?”
Confessing to Subaru had been occupying his brain all day, and if he didn’t get his feelings out he knew he would explode. So he nodded in reply to Ryo’s question.
“Yasu,” Ryo started cautiously. “You know that Subaru still has feeling for Rikiya, right?”
Yasu nodded. Of course he knew. He was reminded of that fact each time a look of sadness or loneliness crossed his best friend’s face.
“I’m happy for you. But I don’t want you to get hurt either,” Ryo explained, his voice sounding uncharacteristically sincere and Yasu was reminded of what a nice guy Ryo really was.
“I know, Ryo. I’ve thought about it all. I know there’s a possibility that he’ll reject me. Or that even if he accepts my feelings, I’ll probably always be second to Rikiya.” Remembering the conversation he had with his sister, he continued, “But I think that staying by his side and trying to keep my feelings inside would be more painful.”
Ryo smiled, somewhat bitterly. “Are you absolutely sure?”
Yasu nodded again.
Ryo exhaled a deep breath. “Okay. I’m going to go. Give you some privacy to talk to Subaru.”
Yasuda nodded, smiling although he felt like he was going to be sick. Ryo gripped his shoulder, nodding in encouragement before turning around and returning home.
Taking a cue from Ryo, Yasu inhaled and exhaled deeply, trying to calm his nerves as he reached forward and pulled the door to the shop open.
What he was met with caused him to froze inside, shivers raking down his spine as the shop was filled with a singing voice. His heart beat rapidly in his chest as he realized that it wasn’t coming from a radio.
He had heard others talk about Subaru’s voice before. Ishigaki and Maruyama had said before that he was irreplaceable as a lead singer. Yasu had thought that he must have a beautiful voice and had longed to hear it. But what he heard as he walked slowly in the direction of the voice was nothing like what he had imagined. As Subaru’s voice continued filling the shop, Yasuda had to wonder if he was human at all.
If Yasuda had thought that Subaru’s eyes conveyed every emotion, they paled in comparison to the sadness that filled his voice as he sang. The longing that lingered as Subaru’s voice turned gravelly. The sweetness as he sang about forgotten love.
As Subaru came into sight, bent over a box of guitar straps he was setting up on display, Yasu’s heart began beating so wildly with the desire to touch him. Sensing someone behind him, Subaru stood up. He paused in his singing, “Can you help me with these, Ryo?”
Yasu didn’t answer, still lulled into some sort of trance by Subaru’s singing. The dark haired boy, turned around, an annoyed look on his face until he realized that it was Yasu who was standing behind him. His face quickly turned red and he turned around to busy himself with the straps again.
But Yasu reached forward, grabbing Subaru’s hand and pulling him over. He didn’t know what made him do it. Perhaps it was because Subaru’s voice had touched him. Or because he wanted to do something to erase that sadness in his song. Or because he had been dying to do it since the moment he had met the singer.
As Yasu gripped Subaru’s wrists, he pulled the other boy forward, smashing their lips together in a kiss.
A/N: Sorry for taking forever to get this done/posted. School started for me so I got busy all of a sudden. I plan to try updating at least once a week, so if it's taking longer than that, feel free to kick me XD